Big withdrawal for Foodbank

Emily AceSouth Western Times
Food Bank Bunbury Manager Carol Hearn. Pic: Jon Gellweiler
Camera IconFood Bank Bunbury Manager Carol Hearn. Pic: Jon Gellweiler Credit: Jon Gellweiler

Bunbury Foodbank delivered a staggering 1,025,991 meals to people doing it tough in the 2017-18 financial year, according to a report highlighting the growing demand on the charity group.

The shocking figure from the 2018 Foodbank Hunger Report represents 20 per cent of the total number of meals distributed across the six branches, with the data revealing people living in regional or remote areas are 33 per cent more likely to experience food insecurity than those living in the city.

Bunbury branch manager Carol Hearn said it was “unimaginable” to think what would happen if Foodbank was not there to help.

“Times have got tougher, it is not as easy as it used to be – I see it day in and day out,” Mrs Hearn said.

“I have been here long enough to be able to take it in and see it progress to a higher amount.

“Before it was mainly the unemployed and the homeless...but there are a lot of people now coming in who are low-income earners or one-income families.”

Despite Foodbank WA providing food for more than half a million meals every month, only 36 per cent of charities believed they were meeting the full needs of the people they helped, yet only 52 per cent of those experiencing food insecurity sought assistance.

Foodbank chief executive Greg Hebble said low incomes coupled with the high cost of living were the main reasons people were struggling to afford enough food for themselves and their families in the South West.

“Almost half of the people surveyed have gone hungry due to an unexpected expense or large bill,” he said.

“Things like your car breaking down, an unexpected illness, large medical or utility bills can be the difference between eating or going without.

“The report shows that vulnerable families in regional and remote areas find it harder to access food and when they run out and are unable to afford to buy more, they are more likely to feel embarrassed and unable to talk to friends and family about their situation.”

He said tackling the big problem of hunger was an urgent issue which could not be ignored.

“Food insecurity is a growing problem nationwide, not just in the South West region,” Mr Hebble said.

“We are calling on the Federal Government to implement a Food Security Strategy and we need more corporate and individual supporters to help us.”

“How many Australians need to be going hungry before we see action?”

Mrs Hearn praised the Bunbury community for its generosity and welcomed all donations.

“We live in a good place,” she said.

“We have a lot of people who will just walk in the front door with a bag full of shopping that they have added to their own shopping.”

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